11 March 2013: Today, the FIH announced the line-up for the women’s Hockey World League Semi Final tournaments to be held in London and Rotterdam in June, following the completion of the women’s Hockey World League Round 2 tournaments.
England, Argentina, Australia and China are the four teams which automatically qualified for the Investec World League Semi Final in London, thanks their FIH World Ranking, while South Africa, USA, Spain and Italy have now been added to the line-up for what promises to be a scintillating week of hockey.
Newly appointed England women’s head coach Jason Lee is relishing the opportunity to play on home turf this summer, “The Investec World League is such an important tournament because as well as it being the route to reach the World League Final it is also the first opportunity for us to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Holland. It’s exciting to have such a key event so early in my time with the women’s group and it will certainly be the main focus of our preparation for the summer alongside the Europeans.”
“The tournament has a number of strong countries in it and we shouldn’t take any team lightly. We will be aiming to avoid Argentina in the quarter-finals, which is the key game for World Cup Qualification.”
Sitting fourth in the FIH World Rankings, England are the highest placed side in their pool, however with Australia ranked sixth, South Africa 11th and Spain 15th their opponents will no doubt provide some significant challenges, especially if the 2013 form-books are anything to go by.
England faced both Australia and South Africa in January at the Investec Challenge in Cape Town. England beat Australia in their bronze medal Ashes clash, while hosts and Investec sponsored South Africa faired even better as they took the silver. The world number 11 side have since gone on to finish top in their World League Round 2 tournament to assure them of their place in London.
Assessing England’s chances ahead of the tournament, Lee added “Due to recent retirements of senior players the team will have a new look to it. It will be fascinating to see how the new players fit in and start to create the basis of a team that is aiming to start to challenge for major honours over the coming years.”
In the other half of the draw world number two side and Olympic Silver medallists Argentina will face China, USA and Italy in Pool A. Italy made headlines by winning their Hockey World League Round 2 tournament, despite entering the event as the third-seeded team. The USA qualified for London by topping their Round 2 tournament in Brazil and with ex England assistant coach Craig Parnham now at the helm they will be eager to impress in June.
Groups for the Investec World League in London:
Pool A: Argentina, China, USA and Italy
Pool B: England, Australia, South Africa and Spain
The Investec World League Semi Final will take place at the University of Westminster’s Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground in Chiswick, London from 22-30 June 2013. Tickets are selling fast and can be ordered here.
From 13-23 June the Rabo Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament will take place in Rotterdam. The teams playing are the hosts and Olympic champions Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Korea, Japan, India, Belgium and Scotland. The Dutch enter the tournament as the top-ranked team in the FIH World Ranking. New Zealand, Germany and Korea were also automatically qualified for the Semi-Finals thanks to their top-eight spot in the FIH World Ranking.
Chile is the lowest-ranked team of the group, weighing in at #18 in the FIH World Ranking. Belgium is the only team in the Rotterdam event to play in both the Hockey World League Round 1 and Round 2 tournaments.
Groups for the Rabo Hockey World League in Rotterdam:
Pool A: Netherlands, Korea, Japan and Chile
Pool B: New Zealand, Germany, India and Belgium